Beware of Harmful Content for Children in Digital Spaces

Internet use by children, especially in the age range of 13-18 years, is relatively high, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Behind it all, children are very vulnerable to exposure to dangerous content, including the threat of cyber crime.

The role of parents is very important to educate children regarding digital literacy. This was raised in a webinar with the theme “Protecting Children from Cybercrime” in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, which was organized by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia together with the National Digital Literacy Movement (GNLD) Sibercreation.

The challenge for parents in the digital era, according to lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology, Merdeka University of Malang, Agustin Rahmawati, is not easy. This is because today’s children can easily access the internet via various devices, such as cellphones, tablets and laptops.

Not infrequently even children in today’s era are smarter at accessing the internet than their parents. Moreover, these children tend to want freedom alias without restraint from their parents.

“The fact is that children’s internet access continues to increase. Behind that, children are a vulnerable group exposed to internet crime. Some of them do not understand the dangers in the digital world,” said Agustin.

Agustin added that several cyberspace risk classifications for children are the risk of victims of aggressiveness where they become victims of bullying, violence, or exposure to sadistic content. The next risk is sexuality where they have the potential to be exposed to pornographic content or even become victims of sexual violence in the digital space.

In addition, in terms of values, children can become victims of hate speech, the influence of radical ideologies, or other potential harmful content.

“Nothing is 100% secure in the digital space. What can be done is to minimize the risk. Digital crime will always be a threat to children because their cognitive development is not optimal,” he said.

Also read: If you want to be successful, MSMEs are considered obligated to enter the digital ecosystem

Lecturer in Psychology at Andalas University Rozi Sastra Purna reminded that internet penetration among children is relatively high. Based on a survey by the Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII) in 2022, in the survey, 76.63% of respondents in the age range of 13-18 years are active internet users. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the intensity of internet use by this age group increased.

“Behind it all, the potential threat of digital crime will continue to lurk. Some examples are watching porn videos, cyberbullying, or sexting. To watch porn videos, the impact can lead to addiction in children. While cyberbullying causes aggressive behavior in children,” said Rozi.

So that children do not have a high risk of internet dangers, according to Nawang Warsi, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, Merdeka University of Malang, intensive digital education is needed from parents to children.

Some examples of education that can be given are not clicking on any links obtained, not giving personal identities to other people without parental permission, setting the duration of time when activities in digital space, and introducing sites that are safe and child-friendly.

“Don’t forget that digital device security must be strong, for example by creating a strong password, always updating the software on the device, and installing an antivirus program,” he said.

The presence of the National Digital Literacy Movement program by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information is expected to encourage people to use the internet in an intelligent, positive, creative and productive way.

This activity was specifically aimed at communities in the Kalimantan region and its surroundings which not only aim to create Smart Communities, but also help prepare superior human resources in using the internet positively, critically and creatively in the industrial era 4.0.

The Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia together with GNLD Sibercreation also continues to run the Indonesia Increasingly Capable Digital program through digital literacy activities that are tailored to the needs of the community. (RO/OL-7)

Gallery for Beware of Harmful Content for Children in Digital Spaces